1. Don't assume the worst
Don't take someone else's word that your credit is bad. Check for yourself by grabbing your credit report and credit score. Even two candidates with an identical score might not be the same in the eyes of a lender, says John Van Alst, staff attorney for the National Consumer Law Center. "Even if your score is tarnished, you may have a better chance than someone with the same score and no (credit) history," he says.